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Transportation Department Honored State, National Awards

Transportation Director John Hennessey holds an award while surrounded by school district officials.
The Worcester School Committee formally recognized the Transportation Department for these accomplishments at Thursday’s meeting. The award was from the Mass. Association of School Business Officials (MASBO). WPS is also receiving a national award later this fall.
Pictured in the front row, from left to right: Rachel Monárrez, Superintendent; Brian Allen, Deputy Superintendent; John Hennessey, Transportation Director; Margaret Driscoll, Mass. School Business Association Executive Director; Christina Menard of Voya Financial Advisors; Sara Consalvo, Budget Director; and Mike Freeman, Assistant Transportation Director. Back row, from left: School Committee members Jermoh Kamara, Laura Clancy, Molly McCollough, Mayor Joseph Petty, and Committee members Tracy O’Connell Novick, Jermaine Johnson, and Sue Mailman.

WORCESTER – Thursday, September 7, 2023 – The Worcester Public Schools (WPS) Transportation Department was recognized by the Worcester School Committee on Thursday for receiving a statewide award for successfully moving all school bus operations in-house one year ago – resulting in greater on-time performance and a significant cost savings. WPS will also receive a national award this fall.

WPS was recently honored with the Donald D. Johnson Operational and Cost Efficiency Award from Massachusetts Association of School Business Officials (MASBO). WPS will also receive the 2023 Pinnacle Award from the national Association of School Business Officials (ASBO).

One year ago, at the beginning of the 2022-23 school year, WPS stopped using an outside school bus contractor and moved all of its transportation operations in-house. 

Since then, email complaints about on-time performance dropped 76% – from 843 in FY22 to 203 in FY23. Additionally, transportation costs were reduced by $3.5 million per year. 

Honored at Thursday’s School Committee meeting were Deputy Superintendent Brian Allen, Transportation Director John Hennessey, Assistant Transportation Director Mike Freeman, and Budget Director Sara Consalvo.

“Because of our collaborative efforts and leadership, the Worcester Public Schools has one of the best school transportation departments in the Commonwealth,” said Worcester Mayor Joseph Petty. “Many more students are getting to school on time, we’ve saved money, and most importantly, our students are being transported safely. Congratulations to the entire Transportation Department for improving this important service for the students and families of Worcester.”

“The Worcester Public Schools has done a tremendous job operationalizing how we transport our scholars in a safe, timely, and cost effective way,” said WPS Superintendent Rachel Monárrez. “I routinely witness bus drivers who form connections with our students and families, dispatchers who assist us at a moment’s notice, and a management team that truly cares about service. Thank you all and congratulations for this recognition.”

“We are honored to receive these awards on behalf of the Worcester Public Schools and the team of people who launched our new transportation operation, including the Worcester School Committee members and city officials,” said WPS Deputy Superintendent Brian Allen. “I am proud of our entire Transportation Department team and so many others who are integral to making sure our students get to and from school safely and on time every day.”

WPS owns and operates 101 large-sized and 95 mid-size-sized and wheelchair school buses. Families can use a mobile app to track their child’s bus in real time. 

The statewide Donald D. Johnson Operational and Cost Efficiency Award recognizes school districts for their efforts in developing replicable, cost efficient approaches that address operational challenges commonly burdening districts.

The national Pinnacle Award showcases replicable projects and practices that allow school district business leaders to share and implement new ideas to support their schools and communities effectively.